It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since the day the CBC Television 50th Anniversary VIA Rail Train departed Vancouver on its epic 33-day trip across Canada. It seems like it’s been a lot longer.
I suppose part of that is because I live in Calgary, isolated from nearly everyone else on the trip. (Enza’s very close to me, living in Banff, but I don’t have the luxury of working in the same building, as most of the Toronto folk do.) I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of people — Angela and Tracy when they stopped through on a documentary tour, and Julie and Enza when Julie came out on a conference (we met in Banff). Beyond that, the only contact I’ve had is through email.
As was proclaimed in the movie "American Pie", God bless the Internet! Without it, I’d probably lose track of almost everyone I’ve ever met. And ironically, it was the Internet that got me on the CBC train in the first place!
I can look back on the experience now with the wisened knowledge that I’ll probably never have another experience like that ever again. (I should be so unbelievably fortunate if I do.) The trip might not have been all sunshine and roses (Winnipeg was not on our "most favourite" list), but now I can look back on even the low points and see good things. It’s not a case of time healing all wounds, but more of seeing things for what they really were.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what the trip was like. As I said last year (see [[Home for a rest]]), there is just no way to fully describe it. My journals only cover aspects, Daryl’s videos don’t show the things that went on behind the scenes, and while the photos do show some "behind the scenes", the can’t tell you the story. It’s a much hated term, but you really had to be there.
A lot of people also ask me: "what’s the one thing you’ve taken away from that trip?" Now that’s a much harder question, although it is easier to answer. For me, experiences and laughter aside, it was the ideal concept of a "team". You can laugh all you want at the saying "there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'" (note: there are two in "homicide"), but this was, I think, the perfect team. No prima donnas, everyone helped everyone else, and aside from the odd spat (one of which was my fault, which stemmed from really poor communications and that I very much regret having started) everyone got along very well. And at the end, were all sad to see it all end.
I’ve looked at the CBC team and tried to use it in my daily life. Well, the ideas, anyway. I’d like to think it’s helped make my job better (and easier), but that’s something that only time will tell. We don’t have the pressure cooker of constant togetherness and tight daily deadlines to fuse everything together.
To all of this, I have to continually thank my friend Brenda. Were it not for her thinking of me, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would not have gone on the trip, would not have met the people I now know and call "friend", I would not have the experiences that have made me a better person. It’s a debt I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully repay.
I haven’t been on a train since last year, and it’s not looking like I’ll be on one this year. (The first time in five years.) I hope to see some of the CBC crew later this year, as I’m tentatively slated to be in Toronto 1 October – 5 October on business, but like everything else in my life it seems, that remains to be seen. It would be neat to do a reunion on a train, but I think that is more of a personal wish than a possibility. Still, dreams do have a way of coming true sometimes.
It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year.